For as long as I can remember, the NRA has been vocal and aggressive in pushing its misinterpretation of the Second Amendment in order that they might arm themselves to their hearts' content. The time has come, nay, is long past, when Congress must face up to them and bring some sense to the nation's gun laws.
The Second Amendment is not a blanket permission for universal gun ownership; it applies only to a "well-regulated militia", or organized citizen army, in a time of war, and protects its right to store guns in the home, rather than in an armory, for such a purpose. Gun ownership beyond that is NOT protected by Constitutional law; and sophisticated automatic weaponry could not possibly have been addressed in 1776. Ideally, gun ownership should be a states' rights issue, since every community has its own concerns.
In any event, it is time that the issue is opened for debate. This is not a call for a ban on guns, simply a call for discussion in order to break the hold the NRA exerts on Congress and on Americans' opinions. We have no reason to be surprised when events such as the tragedy at Virginia Tech occur. Our gun laws are too permissive: there are too many guns in circulation, and we are too anxious to use them. We must begin a discussion about what guns mean to us and our society before such a tragedy happens again.